Managing Menopause symptoms
What are the early signs of menopause?
Often the first signs are erratic periods. You may start missing periods or they may come more frequently for a while. They might become heavier or lighter. This can go on for several years. You may also have hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, achy joints and tiredness. Many women experience mood swings, feel depressed, irritable or find it hard to focus on a task. You may also find that having sex is difficult or even painful.
Will the menopause make me put on weight?
The menopause won’t automatically make you put on weight but your fluctuating hormones might make you tired and less likely to exercise and keep active. If you are feeling low then you might be tempted to comfort eat so the weight could creep on. It’s really important to eat a healthy balanced diet and take regular exercise so that you can maintain a healthy weight and keep active. This will help you to better manage the symptoms of menopause and help you to feel more positive about yourself.
What treatments and support are available?
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The symptoms of menopause can vary from woman to woman and while some “sail through” for others it can be a very different story. If your symptoms are affecting your day to day life and relationships then you should definitely ask for medical help and support – you shouldn’t have to struggle on.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is undeniably the most effective way of managing the unpleasant symptoms of menopause but not all women want or need to take it. It’s helpful to discuss the pros and cons with a gynaecologist to see whether HRT is right for you.
Making lifestyle changes can also help – women who are a healthy weight, don’t smoke and get plenty of exercise often have less severe symptoms. Some women find that avoiding certain types of food, such as coffee, spicy dishes and alcohol can help to manage hot flushes and improve their sleep.